Today was a hectic day and while fluttering between work, the women’s exhibition at DWTC and Christmas cakes at Bloomsbury’s, I was not able to be part of the DIFF events. Especially one with Dubai Film and TV Commission (DFTC) and its partnership with Oliver Wyman, who today released a white paper examining key areas for growth and investment in the Middle East and North Africa media production market.
The white paper addresses recommendations on how countries in the region can build world-class media ecosystems. DFTC commissioned the white paper to help inform its strategic approach to developing a robust media industry.
The white paper, entitled Opportunities and Challenges in the Middle East and North Africa Media Production Market, revealed that Arabic content production is still below its fullest potential, and presents the biggest opportunity for growth in the Middle East media production market. It found that although Arabic is the sixth world language in terms of GDP, there is still a significant lack of Arabic media content. Between 2005 and 2010, the Middle East contributed only 0.72% of the films produced in the world. Furthermore, Arabic film and TV production represent only 0.03% of GDP in the Middle East and North Africa – well below comparable markets elsewhere.
Several countries within the MENA region are taking the initiative to boost and strengthen their media industries, particularly in the Gulf. The white paper revealed Dubai’s strong potential to become a global media production hub meeting the highest industry standards, thanks to its focus on building the required production infrastructure and services that are fundamental to a vibrant media ecosystem.
The case study on Dubai highlights the emirate’s achievements to date in the areas of production infrastructure, such as the state-of-the-art sound stages at Dubai Studio City and the creation of the Dubai Film and TV Commission, which provides the necessary framework to ease the production process for filmmakers. The paper also underlined the competitive advantages of Dubai’s diverse locations, city infrastructure and safety.
Among these findings, three key actions stood out which could dramatically change Dubai’s global position and help take it to the next level: improving access to talent by offering longer-term residency to production crew; developing more formalised film incentives; and improving TV audience measurement across the region. According to the paper, if Dubai develops and implements such changes, its position as an internationally renowned media production hub would strengthen and progress dramatically.